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恭禧发财! (Happy Chinese New Year!)- Your guide to sharing Chinese New Year with Kids

Don’t miss the start of Chinese New Year, a 15 day festival celebrating family, new beginnings, and the start of the lunar new year. My family lived in China for a short period of time, so celebrating the Chinese New Year feels a bit like home. 2017 celebrates the year of the Rooster; if you or your little ones are turning 12, 24, 36, (etc…) this year—throw something on that is red in color (wear it the whole year!) and get ready for a year full of luck & happiness!

Festivals & Parades

The highlight of the festivities, especially for the kids, is the chance to attend a Chinese New Year Festival or Parade. If you live anywhere near a metro area, chances are there is some sort of event going on to celebrate the holiday. Los Angeles is the closest metro area to my family, and we were hosted for a pre-New Year LA tour by the Omni hotel. The Omni at California Plaza exudes family-friendliness from backpacks stuffed with kid activities given at check-in, to complimentary milk & cookies before bed for all the little ones. In addition to being full of fa
mily friendly amenities, the hotel is conveniently located near Chinatown
; take the hotel car for a quick 3-minute ride and you are there!

Read my full review of the fabulous Omni Hotel or book your hotel room now.

LA’s Chinatown will be hosting their 118th annual Chinese New Year parade on February 4 at 1pm. Families with older kids can sign up for The Great Chinatown Hunt, an Amazing Race style  scavenger hunt in Chinatown —I must admit that I am waiting with anticipating for my girls to get older so we can enjoy this event. Cities across the US are holding parades and festivals in honor of the year of the Horse.

Looking for some theme-park adventure for Chinese New Year? This year, I took my family to Universal Studios Hollywood to enjoy their Chinese New Year Festivities. In addition to to all the regular movie magic offered at the park, my kiddos got to meet and greet with the characters from Kung Fu Panda, made new year well wishes to hang in the cherry blossomed trees, and watched (a bit in fright!) a Mandarin speaking Megatron interact with brave park guests!

Trekaroo Editor-in-Chief, Sharlene Earnshaw, attended Disneyland’s Lunar New Year offering as well!

Join the parade fun while you celebrate Chinese New Year with kids

Photo by: Flickr/Global Jet

Chinese New Year Activities & Festivals in your city:

Los Angeles | San Diego | San Francisco |San Francisco ( Fortune Cookie Tours) | Sacramento| Portland | Seattle | Phoenix/Tucson | Denver | Chicago | Atlanta | Washington DC| New York | Connecticut Cities | Florida Cities | Massachusetts

Chinese Food

A major part of Chinese New Year, and Chinese culture in general, is eating authentic food- and by authentic, I don’t mean Panda Express! Sharing meals together is a major part of Asian culture, so important in fact that the common street greeting in Chinese is “Ni Chi Le Ma?” (你吃了吗 , Knee Chur Luh Muh)–have you eaten? Most of the amazing memories I have while living in China take place around a giant table full of delicious food. The West Coast & other major US cities abound with amazing authentic Chinese and Asian food opportunities; although the rest of the country is hit or miss, some awesome, flavorful restaurant spots are tucked into unique corners across the US.

Jiaozi (饺子, geeOW-zuh), more commonly known as dumplings, receive special New Year Spring Festival recognition as one of the main dishes to be served at a Chinese New Year feast. My family gathers together yearly to continue this dumpling making tradition—although there is a bit of work, even the kids can (and should) join in the preparations for these tasty bites, and the reward is a lot of family time together with a delicious ending. If you aren’t up for the labor intensive version, be sure to head out to your city’s favorite Chinese restaurant this new year.

Making potstickers; celebrating Chinese New Year with kids

Photo by: Flickr/johnsember

Find authentic food in your neighborhood:

Los Angeles |San Diego | Seattle | San Francisco | Portland | Chicago | Denver| New York City | DC |

Time with Family

The major theme of the Lunar New Year is family. Similar to our Christmas holiday, millions of people across the world take a break from work, fly home to be with mom and dad, and attempt to spend quality time with their family over food, fun and festivities. If you live in a rural area or just don’t have the money or time to head to a Chinese festival or event, make it a staycation. Grab those closest to you and spend time making a memory this Chinese New Year- give red envelopes full of small trinkets or change to children, make dragons out of recycled egg cartons, wear a ton of red, and decorate your house with home-made paper lanterns, or even attempt your hand at making your own Chinese New Year feast!

Celebrating Chinese New Year with Kids: Los Angeles Chinatown

Stay-at-home Chinese New Year Resources:

Chinese New Year Overview | Chinese New Year Crafts | Jiaozi Recipe | Chinese New Year Games

Have a game, craft, recipe or any other Chinese New Year Staycation idea?  

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8 Responses to 恭禧发财! (Happy Chinese New Year!)- Your guide to sharing Chinese New Year with Kids

  1. Jamie January 24, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Man, I wish I would have braved the rain and showed up in Chinatown. That looks like a blast!

    next year!

  2. Jennifer January 24, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    I love Chinatown in downtown LA. Great photos!

  3. Eva Smith of Tech.Food.Life. January 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    I love your post! Beautiful photo of downtown LA. I must get some red laterns.

  4. Lulu Hayes January 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    Great article, Katie!

  5. tania January 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    Thanks for the info! I’m turning 36 this year—so red will be my color!

  6. Silvia January 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Thanks for letting us know about the annual Chinese New Years Parade in LA it sounds super fun! My husband lived in SF for many years and he always commented about the Chineese dragons, this could be a good opportunity to show them to our kids!

  7. kbodell January 24, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    @Jamie– the parade is this COMING Saturday– you didn’t miss it!

  8. Caryn B January 24, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    I had no idea there was so much to do! Thank you for sharing and I love the photos!

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